Relentless Stags hold firm to end Wombles’ run
by ADRIAN HOUSTOUN
The Dons impressive start to the season of four straight wins is over, yet it seems churlish to discuss the Wimbledon start to the season as the Stags are on the cusp of making their own modest entry into the London and South East Premier results schedules; and thereby confound the numerous commentators who have labelled them as strong relegation candidates. Fiscally underpowered, written off at the start of the campaign, and not having had a single match at their Dukes Meadows home, where they were so strong last season, with the single defeat, they should not be mixing it so well with the hosts, who so many have predicted will finish the season at the top end of the table. However, with the excellent team spirit and star quality in several positions, CS showed what can be achieved. In this encounter with several front row personnel unavailable. And having lost a key back during the warm up, CS Stags were at times outplayed, with the set piece an issue, CS were however relentless, and they frequently seem to find a way to deal with the issues with which they are faced.
The home side kicked off but CS soon took play into their half. On 4 minutes the referee indicated a potential penalty and played advantage to the stags. When hooker Josh Forrester
received the ball within sight of the line the result was inevitable and he indeed crossed the line to touch down. Tom Hodgson
converted 0 – 7. On 8 minutes CS were awarded a penalty 27 metres out Hodgson
took the kick at goal but hit the posts. Wimbledon then had a period of pressure and were awarded 4 successive penalties mainly for scrum infringements. On 22 minutes one of the penalties resulted in a drive over score. 7 – 7. Although CS took play back towards the home side’s line on 25 minutes they lost influential lock Joe Goddard
to injury. Undaunted Stags tried to turn to one of their advantages and fed the ball wide right where a superb pass found wing Zac Stamp
who scored. 7 – 12. Just before half time Wimbledon crossed the line. Numerous spectators standing behind the posts did not expect the score to be given, but the referee took a long time discussing it and did indeed award a try. 14-12. Just before the break the Stags were back on the attack from which the ball was worked tp back row Will Scott
who athletically dived over to score, with Hodgson
converting, 14 – 19 was the half time score. Could CS hold out for victory. 9 minutes into the second half Hodgson
took a long-range penalty which he converted 14 – 22. Now facing more pressure in the scrum CS conceded a number of penalties and on 78 minutes Wimbledon scored the try they were looking for. 21 – 22. Wimbledon had a break that may have resulted in a score from long range except wing Zac Stamp
executed a text book tackle. CS were pleased to take 4 points but are aware that they need to follow it up next week away to Chingford with another win.